Got a surprise visit from the DEL police yesterday. Something like CPS for daycare providers, I think. This small, sweet little woman, delivering the bad news that someone called in a complaint against our facility. Hey, I should have seen it coming–I've been in business for over a year without one, right?
Of course it is anonymous. Which makes me look with suspicion on every parent that comes through my door now, and all of my neighbors and everyone who drives down the street, really.
Complaint being that I'm a great provider, but I:
1) Permit my son to drive down the slope on his bike, admittedly wearing a helmet, and he stops before he gets to the street, but isn't that a little dangerous?
2) Allow the children play on the cement out front [100 ft back from the street] while I just sit in my rocking chair in the doorway, feeding a baby. I can't possibly react in the case of an emergency. Once the door [large, clear glass, not soundproof] was even closed.
(The inspector was going to check, but she was pretty sure that cement was not a suitable material to have on the grounds of a childcare facility. Probably grass would be better. She said this as she bent over and ran her fingers across the tile in my house. She was worried about that surface, too.)
3) Sometimes the children are on that cement pad outside the door, riding bikes or scooters, without helmets.
The third item, that's a genuine concern. I get that. I simply cannot keep all helmets on all kids at all times. Frequently, I have to call them in and revoke mobile priviledges. Right now I've just confiscated everything with wheels. Heck, if I never have to referee another argument about who has had what bike for how long, maybe it will be worth the referral process . . .
As for the second item, I only let school-aged children out without me, and then I'm still watching. If they get too far, they know I will make them come inside for the rest of the day. Simply put: they know their boundaries, and they don't stray. Okay, okay, I'm technically operating out of compliance on that one. They are supposed to only play in the fenced back yard. But the shade, the good grass, and all the fun stuff is out front. And I can see the whole front yard from the daycare area–I can't see the backyard at all. We haven't figured out how to fence the front yet. Meanwhile, we keep them safe.
And that's the thing, you know. Either you trust me with your children, or you don't. If you don't, then go somewhere else. If you do, but you have a concern about helmets, then talk to me personally. As for the cement on my property, check your WAC lady–it specifies that I should have a combination of hard and soft surfaces in my outdoor play area for a variety of activities.
But now that some good Samaritan has opened this can of worms up to inspection, lets just lay it out in the open, why don't we? Let me tell you how else I'm out of complaince.
1) I do not "sterilize all surfaces in the bathroom after every use with a strong bleach solution". I probably only get to that once or twice a day. And then only because some little boy, inexplicably, pees straight up in the air and hits the wall about seven feet off the ground. I have yet to catch the culprit. Maybe I should stand vigil in there with rubber gloves and a bottle of Clorox–I bet I'd finger him.
2) I have been known to shake the crumbs off your child's toast plate and serve him with the same plate at snack.
3) My monthly firedrill is a joke.
4) The fire extinguisher hasn't been inspected since last May. Although, I did call for an inspection this week. They couldn't figure out why I wanted another inspection this soon, until I told them it was for the DEL. Oh. Yeah, that rule.
5) I don't wash my hands for 45 seconds three times during each diaper change. (Before beginning, after removing the dirty diaper and before touching the clean one, and then again after disposing of the dirty one).
6) Your child's coat is probably touching another child's coat when it is hanging on my coatrack.
7) Your child's nap mat has, on occasion, come into contact with another child's nap mat. As a matter of fact, they are using all of them, right now, to build forts with.
8) I never follow the lesson plan.
9) I permit children of the opposite sex to sleep in the same room as their siblings.
10) I let your baby keep her lovey-bear during naptimes. After all, I'm not allowed to give her a pillow or a blanket. She might suffocate during the nap she's taking in the same room with me, within visual and hearing.
11) Sometimes, I don't wake up your baby the minute she falls asleep in the swing.
12) I only mop once a day. Twice tops. And that is definitely less "often than is needed." Your child's socks will be filthy when you return.
There I feel better now, having 'fessed up. (And those are just the ones I can think of, right off the top of my head. I'm sure I'm breaking even more rules, had I the time to look them all up.)